There are about a dozen metrics by which I judge 3D printers when testing them, including speed, noise and the materials with which they can print.

But, none of the latter attributes compares in importance with a printer's ability to produce objects with precision and accuracy. It is in that one area that the new LulzBot Mini 3D printer excels.

Aleph Objects unveiled the LulzBot Mini at CES last week. The machine will be available in the US on January 22 for $1,350 (around £890). Distributors should bring it to the UK shortly after, though details haven't been confirmed yet.

The printer is "mini" in that it's smaller than previous LulzBot machines, though there are other 3D printers that are similar in size. However, at 17-in. x 13.4-in. x 15.2-in., the LulzBot Mini does fit nicely on a desktop, where other printers can often monopolize space.

It also weighs just 8.6kg. The last 'desktop' printer I reviewed, the da Vinci 1.0 AiO all-in-one 3D printer, nearly threw my back out when I pulled the 27kg machine from its shipping box. Being smaller, the LulzBot Mini's build area is also more restricted than some other mid-range 3D printers. It offers an area of 15cm by 15cm by 15cm.

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